Years in print:
The St. Louis Times
Joseph A. Dacus and James William Buel
In the beginning of July, 1866, it was announced that the St. Louis Daily Times, “an uncompromising Democratic newspaper,” would be published during that month in this city. A few weeks later the first number of the paper appeared. It was originated by D.A. Mahoney, Stilson Hutchins and John Hodnett, all formerly residing in Dubuque, Iowa. Mr. Mahoney was the first chief editor of the Times, and Stilson Hutchins was at first both a writer and business manager. Mr. Hodnett was associated in the proprietorship, and contributed largely to the success of the undertaking by his business tact and energy.
During the first years of the existence of the Times, Mr. Mahoney labored assiduously and with no little ability to secure for that journal recognized standing among the great newspapers of the West. Mr. Hutchins early evinced a marked predilection for politics and brought to bear no small amount of energy and ability in advancing his personal interests. It is no light task to establish a newspaper in a city where long established and able journalists already acceptable occupy the field. But the ability of its first editor; the energy and tact of its “outside business man,” John Hodnett, and the audacity and daring of its political engineer, united in giving the Times a creditable standing among the newspapers of the city.
Mr. Mahoney differed with Mr. Hutchins in regard to his business methods, and left the paper. For a time Hutchins and Hodnett, the former being chief editor, conducted the paper with indifferent success, until Major Henry Ewing, a gentleman of polished manners and great ability as a writer and business man, purchased a large interest in the establishment and became associated in the editorial conduct of the journal. The prosperity of the Times was greatly advanced by the accession of Major Ewing.
In 1872 Major Ewing became dissatisfied with the course pursued by Mr. Hutchins and purchased his interest in the paper for the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, and Hutchins retired. The Times made rapid advancement after this event for a considerable period, when the death of Major Ewing necessitated the disposal of his controlling interest. A company of gentlemen, including Mr. Charles A. Mantz, Major George B. Clark, Estell McHenry and others became purchasers of the Ewing interest, and the paper was published by the St. Louis Times Company, of which Charles A. Mantz was the President. Its success was not marked under this management. In 1875 Mr. Hutchins succeeded in inspiring the managers of the Times with a sublime faithin his capacity as a business man and journalist, and became again interested in the property. But the difficulties under which the company labored were not removed, and in 1876 the paper was placed in the hands of Major Celsus Price, its receiver, at the insistence of its creditors, and after due notice, was sold. John T. Crisp, acting for Hutchins, becoming the purchaser, and once more he became the controlling manager. The success of the paper, however, was not secured by the success of its editor. The “hard times” was made responsible for the lack of support accorded “the organ” of the Democrat party in Missouri.
It is needless to trace the history of the paper for the next year succeeding the purchase by the Times Company, of which John T. Crisp was President and Stilson Hutchins principle manager. The result was a failure, and the financial distress of the company necessitated a foreclosure of the mortgages which had been placed upon its property. This event occurred in 1877, and Mr. B.M. Chambers, the holder of the largest number of bonds, became the purchaser.
Under the management of Mr. Chambers, the Times has made rapid progress and is already a paper of no small influence in the politics of the State. The present management of the Times has accomplished much in removing the objections which were alleged against the paper when under the control of others in the past. Steadily and surely the paper is assuming a front rank among the great journals of the country. The public has implicit confidence in the honor and integrity of Mr. Chambers, and the staunch support given to the Democratic party endears it to the hearts of a large majority of the people of the State. Mr. Richard H. Sylvester, an accomplished journalist, had long had connection in an editorial capacity with the Times, and much of the success which has attended the paper is due to his ability and character as a writer and gentleman. He is now principle editorial writer.
(From Edwards’ Great West, And A Complete History of St. Louis, 1860).
Var.: Daily Times, St. Louis Times